tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC September 21, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
tonight on "world news," star power. three megawatt political giants hit the campaign trail. who will deliver the most mojo? as the president shakes up his economic team. blackhawk down. nine of america's special ops elite die in a crash in afghanistan, and we show you how hard it is to land a helicopter in a dust storm. var mitt summit. america overwhelmed by bedbugs, and experts gather to compare what really works. and one dad's lesson. he stormed a school bus to confront kids bullying his disabled daughter. and now, he says, he learned something for all of us. good evening. think of it as a one, two, three political punch. exactly six weeks to go until the november election, and three of the most famous names in america are heading out to fight
for their candidates. first lady michelle obama, now joining former president bill clinton and former alaska governor sarah palin, as the power hitters on the campaign trail. and the president, well, today, we learned that as the elections loom, he is going to shake up and rebuild his economic team. more on that in a minute. but we'll begin with our senior political correspondent jon karl. jon? >> reporter: diane, today we learned that the president's top economic adviser will leave after the midterm elections. this is the third member of the president's economic team to go. and this, we learn on a day that the white house also announced that the first lady is about to hit the campaign trail. the white house calls her the closer. and with time running out for congressional democrats, they're sending her in. the first lady's political travel schedule reads like a who's who of endangered democrats. she'll stump in wisconsin for russ feingold, illinois for alexi glannoulias, who is running for the president's old senate seat, colorado for
michael bennet, washington state for patty murray and california for barbara boxer. >> i think she will go out and make a forceful and positive case for what this administration has done. >> reporter: and former president bill clinton is out on the campaign trail, too, and is now offering the president some free advice. >> i would say, "i know a lot of people are mad and a lot of people are tired, apathetic. and i respect that. because we're not yet out of the hole we've got in." >> reporter: mr. clinton told george stephanopolous the president should say this to disgruntled voters. >> i'd like to see him do something i didn't do. i'd like to see him say, "the only thing that matters is, what are we going to do now? give us two years. don't go back to the policies that dug the hole. but if we don't do better" -- this is the last thing, "if we don't do better, you can vote against us all and i'll be on the ballot, too. vote against us all if it's not
better." >> reporter: clinton and mrs. obama have this in common -- both are far more popular than the president. in a recent ap poll, 68% viewed mrs. obama favorably, followed closely by mr. clinton. only 57% view the president favorably. on the other side, sarah palin upped the ante today, putting out a slick, new web video that portrays her as a national leader of the tea party movement. >> this party that we call the tea party is the future of politics, and i am proud to get to be here today. >> reporter: but the video does more to promote palin than the republican party. in fact, it includes shots of palin, but never once mentions the word "republican." the new palin video combined with her recent tripe to iowa has many republicans speculating she may be thinking about the next election, for president in 2012, and she is about this one. diane? >> and exciting time already out
there. thank you, jon. going to turn now to george stephanopoulos. let's go back to this decision about the economic team. what's behind this and what does it mean for all of us? >> reporter: this was not unexpected. larry summers had two years from leaving harvard to get back and hold onto his tenure. he told the president he was likely to leave at the end of this year. >> he's a big player. >> reporter: he is. and he's the third big player. peter orszag, christina romer, now summers have all gone. white house officials tell me somers' position will not be filled until after the election. but this is not the only change in the white house. very possible maybe even likely that ram emanuel will run for mayor of chicago. there is likely to be changes in the communications and political team as the re-election approaches so, i would expect a significant reorganization, after the election. now, that is not all that uncommon. >> but not easy to do. >> reporter: not easy to do at all, absolutely. >> let's talk about former
president clinton's advice to president obama, is he going to take it? >> reporter: i think he may. white house aides say the president has already taken a piece of that advice. to go out on the trail and really talk about the choice between republican and democratic politics. it is true that president clinton and the first lady are more popular than the president, but what white house aides say president obama is more popular than republicans. i have to say, they were intrigued by that last piece of advice, basically, give people permission to vote no in two years, just stay the course now. >> kind of, call the bluff and go ahead. >> reporter: and another thing they all agree on, go out and fight for the next six weeks. the president will not hundred ke hunker down. >> he'll be out? >> reporter: absolutely. >> as we know, a centerpiece of the president's agenda has been health care reform, and it is now 36 hours until the first major changes from health care reform kick in. as we told you last night, these are changes that reach into
millions of american families. jake tapper, now zeros in on one of the biggest new rules. jake? >> reporter: that's right, diane. we've been looking at the new consumer protections that will take effect on thursday, just what they will do and what they will not do. these triplets were born ten weeks prematurely. mira suffered the most serious head call problems. she had a kidney transplant at just 2 1/2. >> ready? >> i don't need help! >> reporter: but the wisconsin toddler does need help. at just 4 years old, she's already hit her $500,000 lifetime cap for insurance coverage, meaning -- >> they won't pay the claims. >> reporter: until now. >> some of the worst abuses, if you will, of the insurance companies are going to cease to exist. >> reporter: as of thursday, insurance companies will no longer be able to stop providing coverage to customers because of technical errors on past applications. or, impose lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits. the problem facing mira. >> just a huge weight has been
lifted off or our shoulders. >> reporter: as of thursday, if you're in any of these groups, you can take advantage of the new rules. another big benefit is for children with pre-existing conditions. insurance companies are no longer allowed to deny them coverage. children, like christine's 7-year-old son alex, who has a rare bleeding disorder. medication can run $30,000 a month. more than a dozen providers have refused to even offer alex a policy because of this pre-existing condition. >> at one point we just stopped applying because it didn't seem like it was worth my time anymore to continue. i knew what the answer was going to be. >> reporter: now, her insurance company will have to offer here son a plan, show she's concerned about what it will cost. >> if it's going to cost me an arm and a leg, then i can't really say that it helps me. >> reporter: and diane, tomorrow, president obama will meet with a number of insurance commissioners from around the country to talk about enacting these new protections for consumers.
die jan? >> jake tapper, thank you. and, one thing that is not changing for now, the don't ask, don't tell policy. bank gays from serving openly in the military. today, senate republicans blocked a move to get rid of the law. deeming a setback to gay rights advocates who have been fighting to repeal it. a vote on don't ask, don't tell, will probably be brought up again after the november election. and, it was a deadly day for the u.s. military in afghanistan. nine americans, special ops forces, were killed in the crash of a helicopter. the worst disaster there in more than four years. but most of us cannot imagine what it takes to fly that machine in the mountains in a nasty storm. nick schifrin in afghanistan on what went wrong today. >> reporter: every night, dozens of helicopters fly over some of the roughest terrain in the world, transporting special operations forces on secret missions -- kill or capture taliban commanders. early this morning, nearly a
dozen of those troops were flying in a blackhawk, the military's workhouse helicopter. just before 5:00 a.m., they were trying to land, according to one official, when the helicopter crashed, immediately catching fire. this year, the military has more than doubled the number of these special operations raids. but they are not without risk, especially at night. abc's mike boettcher talked with three helicopter pilots. >> i would say the biggest challenges we face are -- landing is definitely in the dust. the brownout conditions, at night, when there is little to no ambient lighting from the moon. >> reporter: the military trains its pilots to fly in those brownout conditions. when the dust kicks up so much, they're virtually blind. >> you really have to pick something out of the ground, something you know that's not going to move. so you can keep your eyes on it when the dust starts blowing, you know it's not going to move. that's how you keep your bearings. >> reporter: last year, we flew over the same area of today's
crash. helicopters are the critical method of transportation here, the only way to criss-cross a country full of mountains and roads riddled with mines. >> you look at afghanistan, and the terrain that we're confronted with, this is really a helicopter war. >> reporter: and with the surge of troops, helicopters will be even more important. meaning today's crash likely won't be the last. nick schifrin, abc news, kabul. and, back in this country, taxpayer outrage and one answer. police in bell, california, fanned out today, arresting the mayor and seven other city officials charged with bilking struggling taxpayers. salaries in the stratosphere. it started with anger, and now criminal charges. here's mike von fremd. >> reporter: a raucous crowd gathered outside city hall as word spread that officials were being rounded up and arrested. one, even had his door broken down by a police battering ram. >> they used the tax dollars collected from the hard working citizens of bell as their own piggy bank, which they then looted at will. >> reporter: former city manager
robert rizzo made nearly $800,000 a year. almost twice what the president makes. city council members were paid nearly $8,000 a month for attending meetings that either never took place or lasted only minutes. the district attorney said that is fraud. >> this, needless to say, is corruption on steroids. >> reporter: the 40,000 residents of bell had been paying enormous property taxes and sewer fees. and today were thrilled to see those in charge thrown in jail. >> i'm glad. it's about time they caught them. >> reporter: they were not arrested for simply making enormous amounts of money. >> getting paid a zillion dol r dollars a year is not illegal, unless you do it by illegal means. >> reporter: officials say private citizens need to do a better job being their own watchdogs. >> they got away with it for a number of years and now finally people are looking at it, saying, enough is enough. >> reporter: the district
attorney says the eight arrested today face significant jail sentences. this is the biggest corruption scandal to be prosecuted in california in three decades. >> all right, mike von fremd, our thanks to you. and, a new study raises doubts about offering teachers incentive bonuses to improve student performance. vanderbilt university researchers looked at the math scores of middle school students in nashville, over three years. some teachers were eligible for bonuses. other teachers agreed not to take them. and the finding? the students of steechers eligible for bonuses were no more successful than the other students. and still ahead on "world news," the bedbugs swarming america. will zapping them or freezing them work? the experts call a summit. and he confronted the children who bullied his daughter. was he being a bully himself? a tearful dad raises the question, what would you do?
and, "world news" goes home, to our hometowns. ideas that make a difference in creating jobs and holding onto homes and hope. [ male announcer ] the financial headlines can be unsettling. but what if there were a different story? of one financial company that grew stronger through the crisis. when some lost their way, this company led the way. by protecting clients and turning uncertainty into confidence. what if that story were true? it is. ♪ [ male announcer ] we asked zyrtec® users what they love about their allergy relief, and what it lets them do. the thing i love most about zyrtec® is that it allows me to be outside. [ male announcer ] we bet you'll love zyrtec®, too -- or it's free. [ vonetta ] it is countdown to marshmallow time. [ woman laughs ]
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country, in five years. so, today in chicago, experts from around the world gathered to show their big ideas for beating the bugs. barbara pinto was there. >> reporter: the war on bedbugs has come to this. a first ever national convention, showcasing the latest weapons. dogs trained to detect the tiny insects. and devices that kill them. so basically, this is how they hitch a ride? >> right. bedbugs will hitch a ride in your stuff. in your belongings. >> reporter: this heater bakes suitcases at 120 degrees, killing any stowaway. if they infest your furniture this trailer-sized version is big enough for mattresses. lorne charnick goes to the other extreme -- freezing the bugs. >> it will kill them on contact. >> reporter: so this makes snow? >> yes it does. i'll show you. >> reporter: scott lode, an exterminator, came all the way from new jersey. >> ten out of ten calls a day we get are just on bedbugs.
>> reporter: that's because they've grown more resistance to pest sides. the state of ohio was so desperate, it petitioned the epa to use a banned chemical to fight them. killing the tiny bugs costs big money. almost $1,000 for an average home. thousands more for businesses and apartment buildings. and none of it is covered by insurance. that's what scares adam. he works for the housing authority in bloomington, illinois. >> i could have a building with one apartment having bedbugs to having 100 apartments. >> urban areas are the hardest hit. the most infested cities stretch from coast to coast. at the top? new york. >> we actually use new york city as a barometer for what we think is going to happen across the country in the next five to ten years. >> reporter: that may be enough to keep you up at night. barbara pinto, abc news, rosemont, illinois. and, still ahead, the father who stood up to the bullies on his daughter's school bus,
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>> reporter: he admitted that in this fit of rage -- >> this is my daughter, and i will kill [ bleep ] -- >> reporter: he had become what he hoped to fight. >> yes, i was a bully, and i apologize again for that. >> reporter: it was an apology both public and emotional. >> i thought it was backed up against the wall, as a parent, and i just didn't know where else to go. >> reporter: last week, as they waited for the school bus, jones' 13-year-old daughter, who has serb ball palsy, broke down, telling her dad of her daily torture on the bus. he erupted. >> if anything happens to my daughter, i'll [ bleep ] and everybody on this [ bleep ] -- >> reporter: her father's tirade earned him a trip to the county jail on disorderly conduct charges, but a blossoming support group on facebook. and debra jones tried to explain why her husband of 15 years had become so engaged. >> she's a beautiful young lady, who will give her last if she
has it, and she will step in for others who have been bullied or pushed around. >> reporter: but his newfound folk hero status didn't seem to matter much to the printer whose favorite past time is cook wk his kids. >> it's knob about me, it's about kids that are getting bullied, going to school, even if you're walking to school. my action was very much out of line, out of character for me. >> reporter: so out of character that he urged parents to seek help from school officials first before doing something they, like he, would regret. matt gutman, abc news, miami. >> one father's lesson. and, we turn now to what may be the biggest markdown ever of a house. a beverly hills mansion listed at $165 million in 2007 is back on the mark for only $95 million. it has 50,000 square feet of space, a gym, pools, even a nightclub.
william randolph hurst once called it home. jfk and jackie honeymooned there, and you might recognize it from that famous scene in "the god father," when a horse's head is found in a bed. and, proof tonight that you never know all the ways a teacher can influence history. a strict high school gym teacher died, a man known for lectures young students about their grooming and personal appearance, and what was his name? leonard skinner. sound familiar? well, it turns out the band's lead singer was sent to the principal's office by skinner because his hair was too long. and still ahead, we at "world news" are going to go home, to bring back great ideas about what makes a difference in this tough economy, and we want
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and before we leave, a note about a special series here on "world news" next week. five of us who report here are going to go home, looking for what works to help in this economy, back in our hometowns. back where we rode our bikes and played in our backyards. that's me in the black and white picture. i'll be heading to louisville to see how people there are coming up with great ideas to give each other a helping hand. sharyn alfonsi, heading back to georgetown, south carolina. and that's a young david muir, returning home to syracuse, new york. ron claiborne, to oakland. bill weir to milwaukee. and we are going to go all over the country to hear from people about the great ideas they have come up with to revitalize their
hometowns. and we want to hear about what's happening in your hometown that is working. head to abcnews.com/worldnews. send us your information for help and hope for families in this economy. we hope to see you for that next week, and hope to see you again tomorrow night for "world news." until then, good night. america runs on dunkin', with three freshly baked bagel twists for only $3, like our delicious new tomato basil or sweet chocolate chip, so grab three for 3 today. [ ding! ]